Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: deadpolitics Date: Dec 1, 2009 3:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

I was having a discussion with my roommate the other day about Ghandi. The man was his hero in high school and he studied his work extensively.

Here's his only qualm: Ghandi said that the work he did required absolute faith in God. Without this faith he would have been unable to risk his life doing the dangerous work he was involved in. The only reason he could go to such extremes for his beliefs was because he knew that if he died, his family would be cared for by God.

Granted, my friend is a devote atheist and a Marxist to boot.

So, I ask of you as proclaimed Ghandi-ist, is it possible to be a Ghandi without having the absolute faith that the man himself said was required?

I know this is a very open-ended question and that's probably because my brain needs some glucose... dinner time!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 1, 2009 4:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

Ah, I think that Gandhi would allow you to substitute "truth" for "God" in that; he spoke excessively about tolerance of all religions when they arrived at fundamentally similar moral positions, and in many ways he was a secular humanist in spite of his professions on religion, in my view.

Nonetheless, I do not feel that he took satisfaction in some sort of materialistic notion of salvation in the respect you allude to in regard to feeling his place/responsibilities would be covered, so to speak. I think he valued his efforts purely in the sense of achieving justice/truth and betterment for humankind rather than satisfying deities, etc.

But, to be honest, I am not that familiar with it all...I certainly never got the necessity of God in it all since he at times provided advice on how to achieve such things in a Thoreau esque, civil disobd fashion.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: deadpolitics Date: Dec 1, 2009 4:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

Thank you for the response!

I think this Ghandi discussion will be yet another in a series of conversations I've had with my roommate regarding the need for some set of guiding principles in directing one's actions for the betterment of mankind.

He is a very intelligent atheist who feels like he can change the world for the better (I know he can) but does not know exactly how. I keep telling him he doesn't have to know how - but if his principles are in order and ingrained in his logic, then his actions will be in accordance with these wishes.

Hopefully I can link you to some of his philosophy eventually as I've been encouraging him to write down his ideas!

Okay, now I'm really too hungry to think. Peace, Tell.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 1, 2009 4:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

Hey DP--this is what makes this Forum a beautiful place...does that sound sappy? I think you're room-mate is spot on; he's making a self analytical effort toward the most noble end--humankind for its own sake rather than because he's compelled by one or another "force" (God, whatever)...of course, in the end it all comes down to the golden rule, and it comes back to you and yours which is what really matters, right?

Enjoy dinner!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: deadpolitics Date: Dec 2, 2009 6:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

You're right, WT, this dude is on a noble quest and he is very strong willed and intelligent as well.

As far as having faith, I think everyone who's got their head on straight (this is actually optional) believes in a set of principles, a personal philosophy of sorts. There is something in most people's lives that serves the same function that faith in a religion or philosophy or psychology or some other kind of science does for someone else.

Lots of people may not be even aware that they have a set of ideals that are dictating their lifestyles and behaviors - take consumerism for example, it's pretty much a religion these days. Did Bush tell us to grieve, or to seek community, or God, when 9/11 happened? He told us to go shopping, because that is our way of life, just as following spiritual ideals is the most important thing in other cultures' ways of life.

This is my favorite thread ever :)



Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: deadpolitics Date: Dec 2, 2009 6:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

"of course, in the end it all comes down to the golden rule, and it comes back to you and yours which is what really matters, right?"

Exactly. This reminds me of another question we pondered:

Gonna preface this by saying that there are people who go out there and decide they are going to change the world - philosophers, politicians, whoever they are, not all of them have good intentions. If there's a bunch of egotistical assholes out there trying to change the world and make a whole bunch of money at the expense of others and the environment, well, why can't we, the gandhis of this world, also go out there and now we can change the world guided by compassion, equality, justice, kindness?

Of course we can. But here's the kicker:

How many people who were truly revolutionary, people who changed the world, were able to be happy in their personal lives (get married, settle down, etc.)?

It's somewhat of a trade-off in this regard... but of course you change the world by changing one person at a time :)

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 2, 2009 8:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

Yep, live is full of tough choices; lots of tradeoffs too...in the end, though, I think that each of us can make a difference, and though entirely too cliche, one interaction at a time (no, this doesn't mean we have to be perc'd as "nice", whatever that is, each and every post!) is what it boils down to...I wish I weren't a short tempered broken down old fart at times, but then I see my old man in me, and think that in some small way I took some of the good, and a little less of the bad, and moved my own little piece of the human race ahead one tenth of a step or so (to bring us around to a Jerry-ism).

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Dec 1, 2009 4:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a little late to the dinner table?

It's late here so I'll be brief. Speaking as a confirmed atheist it annoys me profoundly when anyone suggests that a belief in some deity or other is a prerequisite to having a moral compass, as if you can't be trusted to 'do the right thing' without guidance from 'above'. So, yes it is possible to be a Gandhi without faith - what's required is a belief in the here and now, not a reliance on an intangible reward in the hereafter.